Come summer, it is not uncommon to see school teachers conducting door-to-door survey, enumerating details about children eligible for admission to school; never-enrolled children; drop-outs so on and so forth. These surveys, usually, sensitise the parents to the need to protect their right to education. But, in practical purposes, not all parents turn up immediately for admitting their wards to the school.

With a view to making the survey more meaningful and purposeful, the authorities of the Thanjammal Memorial Elementary School, run by the Tiruchi Seva Sangam in the city, have taken up an innovative plan this summer. As part of the ‘School Improvement Programme’, they have launched a special survey-cum on-the-spot admission of children. In fact, the survey has an eye more on instant admission of children than collecting any data about them.

Called ‘Door-to-door admission’, the month-long survey aims at admitting at least 100 students for the academic year 2010-11, residing at the school’s service area of six habitations in the city.

“This year, the door-to-door survey will not end up for identifying the never-enrolled children or drop-outs; on the other hand, it will achieve the desired goals of imparting compulsory education to the eligible children,” says R. Visalakshi, Headmistress of the school, who, accompanied by a team of teachers, inaugurated the survey at the Milaguparai area in the city on Saturday.

She says that the teachers of the school have been recording the data every summer for the past three decades. “The Central government’s policy of compulsory education acted as a catalyst this year,” she adds. Further, the survey also acts as a counselling session especially for the parents who remained undecided in selecting the school for admitting their wards.

Three students from the school also form part of the survey team. “These students conduct a demonstration on their learning skills to explain the quality of education to the parents, convincing them of the quality education at our school,” say V. Uma Maheswari and P. Malliga, both teachers.

No sooner the survey team enters a house than the students – M. Sarathkumar; B. Suganthi and M. Aravindan, using their Activity-Based Learning (ABL) charts and newspapers, explain their reading skills before the children.

After an interaction that lasted for about 15 minutes, a mother Karthika admitted her son, A. Thangavel to Standard I of the school.

All those admitted on the spot at their door-steps, will attend the classes from June 1. In the past, with the admission process extending up to mid-October, many children lost a number of working days and were unable to gain adequate academic skills, says S. Sivakumar, Senior Lecturer, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), who designed the survey.

Quite convinced by the quality education being imparted to the students, the parents vie with one another in admitting their wards to the school. The admission of a child to the school involves three processes: verification of birth certificate; ascertaining the family details and obtaining the signature from the parents.

The survey has gone down well with the parents, most of whom are unorganised labourers or daily-wage workers. A couple of mothers, S. Sarasu and L. Deepajothi point out that the spot-admission has been gift to them in more than one way. Firstly, it spares them of availing a day’s leave at their work-spot. The face-to-face interaction between the parents and teachers acts as a bridge between them, promoting a cordial relationship between them.

The survey is to be conducted at Chinna Milaguparai; Periya Milaguparai; Ponnagar; Gorimedu; Collector Office Road and Othakadai – the service area of the school. They distribute pamphlets explaining the advantages of free and compulsory education available at the school. Incidentally, a large number of parents of Milaguparai area are alumni of the school.

Provision of an auto-rickshaw facility will ensure admission of more children to the school from these service areas, says Ms. Visalakshi.